Introduction and chicken question : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hi all, been lurking awhile and posted a couple of times so thought a formal intro was due. I'm a full-time mom of 3 kids (human), two horses, two cats, one husband and one dog (not necessarily in order of importance!). I'm also a volunteer firefighter/EMT (mostly EMT although I have helped with an occasional fire due to manpower shortages) and work very part-time for the local hospital EMS. We live on 56 acres in rural Indiana, are avid gardeners and are hoping to expand into raising chickens, beekeeping, and maple syrup production. Some areas in which we have experience and may be able to offer advice are homeschooling, wood heating, and raising horses.

My question involves chickens. We've all heard about the dangers of salmonella and I'm wondering about it's likelihood with farm raised chickens and eggs. Is it possible to buy *salmonella free* chickens? Is it common with free-range chickens? I'm very partial to eggs "over-easy" and would love for my kids to be able to sample raw cookie dough. I'm not paranoid and I know the odds are slim even with store bought eggs but I am pretty protective when it comes to my little ones. Any thoughts?


-- Hoosiermom (, March 08, 2001


We have chickens and I have my eggs over easy. I don't like raw cookie dough, but there's nothing like raw cake batter. I would buy day old chicks, let the kids experience them growing, keep your chicken coop good and clean, don't eat cracked eggs and just enjoy.

-- David in NH (, March 08, 2001.

Welcome to the forum. We live in Ripley Co. in SE Indiana. We also have had chickens for more than three years now. I don't know about all chickens/eggs but ours have been safe We try hard not to free range them so they don't get in the garden.

Speaking of cookie dough, when we were kids my brother would eat a good portion of the Snickerdoodle dough everytime. I'm like David I think the cake batter is better, although chocolate chip dough isn't bad.

-- Cindy (SE In) (, March 08, 2001.

Hey! I live in Tippecanoe County in Westcentral Indiana. Have been back on the "farm" for 5 years now. Raised chickens for 5 years also. I think if you keep your coop clean and the eggs clean then you will be ok. The Boy likes cookie dough and we've had no problem yet. I know there is always a first time, but I wouldn't doubt that your home eggs will be "cleaner" and nicer. I was also worried about feeding stuff to the Boy when I first moved out here. I would eat it first and then him. Also wrote down what I ate in case we got sick and had to have help! :) I've relaxed a lot since then... Welcome to the group!

-- Gailann Schrader (, March 08, 2001.

I saw a Dateline report on the Salmonella in chicken eggs some time back, and I would be leary of how I cook the store bought eggs. My understanding is that you may have some naturally occurring salmonella in any eggs, but that the level rises exponetially over a period of time(I can't remember how long) while the eggs are being processed and before they are cooled. Sometimes the store bought eggs are stacked in such a way that they do not cool properly right away. Some were not refrigerated at all.(And sometimes they are far from fresh by the time you buy them.) It is the cooling process that arrests the growth of the salmonella. When you have your own hens, you normally gather the eggs daily and refrigerate them the same day. Raising chickens is a lot of fun, and good experience, I think, for our homeschooled children. mary

-- mary, texas (, March 08, 2001.

The healthier the birds, the better the eggs. I've never had a problem. And, my kids and I are lucky that we've ever tasted a baked cake or cookie - even with store-bought eggs...

Cases of salmonella in eggs are about the same as cases of BSE in an elk or deer. It is very rare, unless something happens at the packer/shipper/distributor/store such as letting them get warm and then re-cooling.

-- Sue Diederich (, March 08, 2001.

Welcome Hoosiermom! Cheap insurance against several types of bacteria, including salmonella, is an ounce of CIDER vinegar to a gallon of water and use this all the time as the sole source of water for the chickens. I have done this for over five years, and it really helps with proper mineral absorption too, which is the primary cause of "sudden death syndrome" in heavy egg producers.

Be aware that the peeps come salmonella free, they pick it up as they grow and are exposed to it through the dirt in their surroundings, salmonella is in dirt everywhere, that is "normal", it is just a problem when the bacterial flora and fauna in their gut gets out of whack and it is allowed to florish to unhealthy levels, then, it gets passed on to you through their eggs. The cider vinegar prevents that from happening, and the chickens appear to like it!

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, March 08, 2001.

Annie Miller, Thanks for the tip on cider vinegar. I'll try that!

-- Action Dude (, March 08, 2001.

Wow, thanks for all the responses! I'll remember the cider vinegar. My step-dad swears by it for all sorts of things. BTW, I'm in NE Indiana. Good to see so many fellow Hoosiers!

-- Hoosiermom (, March 08, 2001.

This seems to show up in store bought eggs. Personally, I believe it's due to how they clean the eggs. When the eggs are layed, they have a protective coating to protect the chick from bacteria. Don't know exactly how the commercial eggs are cleaned, but they scrub and remove the coating and then put them into some solution. Perhaps the stuff leaches into the porous eggs. Many of us back yarders run them under the faucet if something is on them. And many don't clean eggs until they use them.

My nest boxes stay clean, since the hens don't poop in them, but if they the birds track in mud and it starts to get messy, I clean out the old hay and put in fresh.

My birds lead a healthy life free ranging during the day. (Too many predators at night.) The grass they eat gives the yolk a rich orange color instead of the pale yellow of store bought eggs. Their hoppers always have feed in them, and they return to the pens periodically to nibble and get a drink of water. My eggs stay fresh for months.

There's a heck of a lot of us eating our own eggs. Don't know why you're worried. Stop listening to the scare mongers on the news! -G- They've probably never seen a live chook!

-- ~Rogo (, March 09, 2001.

Welcome my Indiana Friend . I have had chickens every since I was 7 years old.I have always washed the eggs in a bleach water and rinsed off well .Make sure to never keep a egg if it is cracked this lets the germs in.Enjoy free range birds give the best tasting eggs. Indiana Country friend Jack Bunyard GOD Bless

-- Jack Bunyard.. (, March 09, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ